How To Get The Best Pork Crackling
Another Christmas favourite is the good ol’ pork roast. But what are the tips and tricks to getting the best pork crackle you ask? Here’s our take on it.
Crackling is the rind – which is the skin that sits above a layer of fat and the meat. When scored, dried, heavily salted and fired on with hot, hot heat, it transforms into a delicious delicacy that everybody tries to get a taste of before it’s even served. Salty, crispy and yummy!
Whether it’s a pork loin, leg or belly, here are the basic steps to getting the best out of your pork crackle:
- Buy Local West Australian Pork
Make sure you source pork with enough fat – about 1 cm between the rind and the meat ……….Now is not the time to worry about your waistline my friends………you will always struggle to have the perfect crackle if it is too lean……you can always remove the excess fat once it has cooked.
- Score the skin
Score your pork in long strips as thick or as thin as you’d like the morsels to be. It is really important to score into the fat under the skin, but not as deep as the flesh, so that when you heat the joint, the fat renders out onto the skin, but the moisture in the meat remains inside keeping the meat juicy.
- Remove Moisture
This is a very important step as the drier the skin, the better the crackle will be. It’s best to leave your pork in the refrigerator, uncovered for 24 hrs before cooking. That will give the skin time to dry out and the score marks to open up. For extra attention, pat the skin with a paper towel. Another tip is to use a hairdryer to dry the skin. This is particularly useful if you don’t have time to wait for the skin to dry out in the fridge.
- Oil then Salt liberally
Rub a thin layer of oil over the rind, so that the salt will stick. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice with the oil (optional) to help conduct the heat of the oven to the skin.
Then the tip here is salt, salt and when you think you’re done – add more salt…..don’t be shy. Massage all over the skin and really get into the slits of the score marks. This will help render and absorb the fat causing the skin to puff and crisp up. If you don’t rub the salt in properly the crackling will have a chewy texture………and all that effort will be a waste of time.
- High Heat
Place the pork onto a rack in a roasting dish. Cook your pork in a very hot, preheated oven – at least 220°C – 240°C for 20-30 minutes or until the crackling blisters and goes hard. After that reduce the temperature to a range of 160°C to 180°C and cook the roast for a further 45 minutes per kilo or to your desired degree of doneness (this is a special butcher’s word – we use at RQM).
As with any meat, make sure you rest your roast pork for at least 10-20 minutes after cooking to ensure tenderness and juiciness. Do not cover the roast in foil or you’ll trap the steam from the meat and the crackling will lose its crunch.
7. Stand Guard
Now you just have to try and keep those grabbing hands away until it makes it to the table.